United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court sua sponte. The Court
determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over
this matter and thus dismisses this action pursuant to Rule
12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
August 25, 2017, Plaintiff Irene Elizabeth Lipinski filed a
pro se “Petition to Compel Arbitration” against
Defendant A. Brad Jones. (Doc. # 1). Lipinski provides a St.
Pete Beach, Florida address for herself and identifies
Defendant Jones as the President of Paradigm Construction,
LLC, located in Largo, Florida. (Id. at 1-2).
Lipinski acknowledges that the Court does not have diversity
of citizenship jurisdiction and submits that the Court has
federal question jurisdiction. (Id. at 3).
Specifically, she indicates that the federal statute at issue
is the “Federal Arbitration Act Title 9 U.S. Code
§ 4- Failure to Arbitrate.” (Id.).
further explains in her “Statement of Claim” that
“On 6-16-16 parties signed a contract with a written
provision to arbitrate disputes. A dispute has arisen.
Defendant has declined to participate in mediation and is
unresponsive to attempts for arbitration.”
(Id. at 4). In the “Relief” section of
the Complaint, Lipinski “requests a Motion to Compel
Arbitration - as called for in the written contract.”
attaches the Construction Contract to the Complaint. The
subject of the Contract is the “Lipinski Rental
Remodel” real property located in Tampa, Florida.
(Id. at 6). Lipinski has made handwritten comments
on the Construction Contract, suggesting that Paradigm did
not uphold certain aspects of the bargain. Lipinski submits
that she is entitled to $58, 442.11 based on Paradigm's
alleged deficiencies, which include “cost of materials,
cost of labor, cost of supervision, cost of contractor with
no active license, cost of wasted supplies for
non-professional work, [and] cost of inefficient work and
lost rental income [for] three months.” (Id.
at 25). The Court surmises that Lipinski contends that
Paradigm breached the Construction Contract.
federal court not only has the power but also the obligation
at any time to inquire into jurisdiction whenever the
possibility that jurisdiction does not exist arises.”
Fitzgerald v. Seaboard Sys. R.R., Inc., 760 F.2d
1249, 1251 (11th Cir. 1985); Hallandale Prof'l Fire
Fighters Local 2238 v. City of Hallandale, 922 F.2d 756,
759 (11th Cir. 1991) (“[E]very federal court operates
under an independent obligation to ensure it is presented
with the kind of concrete controversy upon which its
constitutional grant of authority is based.”).
federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Taylor
v. Appleton, 30 F.3d 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994). And
“because a federal court is powerless to act beyond its
statutory grant of subject matter jurisdiction, a court must
zealously [e]nsure that jurisdiction exists over a case, and
should itself raise the question of subject matter
jurisdiction at any point in the litigation where a doubt
about jurisdiction arises.” Smith v. GTE
Corp., 236 F.3d 1292, 1299 (11th Cir. 2001).
Complaint's jurisdictional allegations demonstrate to the
Court that there is a palpable lack of federal jurisdiction.
The requirements of complete diversity of jurisdiction are
not met. A Florida Plaintiff sues a Florida Defendant and the
amount at issue, $58, 442.11, is less than the jurisdictional
while Plaintiff mentions a Federal Statute - the Federal
Arbitration Act, that Act, in and of itself, does not supply
the Court with federal subject matter jurisdiction. In
Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital v. Mercury Construction
Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 25-16 (1983), the Court explained:
“The Arbitration Act is something of an anomaly in the
field of federal-court jurisdiction. It creates a body of
federal substantive law establishing and regulating the duty
to honor an agreement to arbitrate, yet it does not create
any independent federal-question
jurisdiction.” This reasoning was echoed in
Allied-Bruce Terminix Companies, Inc. v. Dobson, 513
U.S. 265, 291 (1995), where the Court clarified:
[C]ourts have jurisdiction to enforce arbitration agreements
only when they would have had jurisdiction over the
underlying dispute. See 9 U.S.C. §§ 3, 4, 8. In
other words, the FAA treats arbitration simply as one means
of resolving disputes that lie within the jurisdiction of the
federal courts; it makes clear that the breach of a covered
arbitration agreement does not itself provide any independent
basis for such jurisdiction.
Id.; see also Frank v. Am. Gen. Fin. Inc.,
23 F.Supp.2d 1346 (S.D. Ala. 1998)(“There must . . . be
diversity of citizenship or some other independent basis for
federal jurisdiction before an order compelling arbitration
the Court has construed the Complaint broadly due to
Lipinski's pro se status, the Court comes to the ultimate
conclusion that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over
this case. The Complaint demands an Order requiring
arbitration, but the Court lacks a jurisdictional basis to
require the parties to submit their dispute to arbitration.
Lipinski does not contend that the requirements of complete
diversity of citizenship are satisfied, and the Court is
convinced that the requirements of complete diversity are not
met. In addition, Lipinski's stated jurisdictional basis
- the Federal Arbitration Act - is not an appropriate
foundation for the Court's exercise of subject matter
jurisdiction. “As courts have long held, the FAA . . .
does not confer subject matter jurisdiction on federal courts